When you’re out on the trail, it’s not a matter “if” you’re going to have a breakdown, it’s a matter of “when”. Thankfully, most trailside repairs are easy to fix if you have a simple toolkit with you.
I have a basic toolkit for shorter rides, rides that are short enough that walking or scooting the bike home isn’t that big of deal if you have a problem you can’t fix. I carry the tools that will fix the most likely repairs, but leave the extra stuff home to save room and weight. These items include a spare tube, tire levers, a multi-tool, a pump, and material to temporarily fix a torn tire sidewall.
For longer rides, where walking home or ruining the ride is not an option, I add a few more items. A patch kit, chain tool (if your multi tool doesn’t already have one), spare clipless pedal cleat bolts, and a Leatherman style tool that includes pliers and a knife. Singlespeeders may want to include spare chain links…you can make a multi-geared chain shorter, but can’t on a single speed.
I prefer to carry my tools in a waist pack, since I frequently switch bikes and don’t like the rattling of tools going down bumpy trails; however, under the seat bags work pretty well too if you have enough room in them. Be prepared, and don’t assume your buddies will have everything you need!
Anything I’m missing? What do you carry in your repair kit?